In 2019, I decided to post a series of interviews with members of both the genealogical and old Hollywood communities, hoping to find common ground between the two and learn more about some people whose online presence I truly enjoy. Welcome to the Hollywood/GenesCrossover Interview series! For the original post in this series and to see the complete list of interviewees, click here.
Though Stephen and I have been acquainted online through Twitter, I admit I only discovered his blog after conducting this interview. Stephen has a wonderful writer’s “voice,” simultaneously poetic, but straightforward and earnest. In short, it’s a voice I truly enjoy reading! See for yourself…here’s Stephen!
Name: Stephen Sherry
Tell us a little about yourself (anything goes!):
Well, apart from the genealogy addiction, I’m originally from Glasgow, but moved to the Scottish Highlands in Spring 2019. My ancestry is a mixture of English, Irish and Scots. I’m married and we have two cats and a dog. I also like to make electronic music, but that’s for my own ears and it’s not good enough for other ears to listen!
What made you become interested in family history? Was there a particular moment, person, thing that first sparked your interest?
Curiosity! I had a conversation with my friend about family and I realised I knew very little beyond my Grandparents – in particular, my Father’s side of my ancestry. I also did not know anything about my Grandfather Sherry, I was in my late 30s until I saw a photo of him. So the journey started in 2012. And it will never end. I’m only a custodian of family history. In time, someone will take over, continue the work and improve on it. But not yet!
Genealogically speaking, what takes up most of your free time at the moment?
Life has got in the way this year, so my researching activities have been limited. I have blog posts ready to go online in the near future when I get the time.
There are a couple of family lines I want to delve deeper into. And perhaps find more living relatives. Taking breaks from researching is good though as I look over previous work with fresh eyes and improve on it if I can.
What was/is your biggest brick wall and how did you bust it down/how are you working on busting it down?
The biggest brick wall is getting past my 3rdGreat Grandfather Arthur McSherry. He disappears in the records before 1855. Arthur came from the parish of Clonfeacle in Ireland, moved to Glasgow sometime before 1832 – the year he married Isabella McFadyen/McFadden.
I’m hoping Ancestry DNA will help break down this brick wall one day.
What is your favorite website(s) related to family history research and genealogy? Why would you recommend it and what makes it special?
Ancestry is number one. That’s where it all began for my research. And I found other living relatives there who are conducting their own research lines. I would highly recommend the British Newspaper Archive. For my research it has been invaluable. I’ve found a lot of newspaper stories featuring my Ancestors. Good and Bad!
What advice would you give genies just starting out?
- Before going into the archives, sit with your oldest relatives and ask what they know about family history. Use that as a baseline research plan.
- The true journey of your ancestry may be completely different to what you and your living relatives know. So, prepare yourself for the occasional difficult piece of evidence that may create upset. On the other side of the coin, you are likely to find out a WOW! piece of ancestry information. Something that you would be proud of telling people about. I have experienced both..
- I know it’s a cliché, but genealogy is a marathon, not a sprint.
What is your favourite classic film(s) and why (1900s-1960s)?
This is a difficult one! Possibly 2001– but that may of course change in future. I love the direction, special effects and music. It showed a 21st Century that I wouldn’t have minded living in. What happened?!
Who is your favourite classic film star(s) and why(1900s-1960s)?
I don’t have one. Thinking about the golden era of Hollywood and the amazing stars, actors and personalities. Oh that gives me a sore head! They were golden times for cinema. And look what we have now.. I digress…
Which film star are you most often compared to or you think you look the most like? Does anyone else in your family (parents/grandparents) have a Hollywood lookalike?
My Father looked like Donald O’Connor when he was a young man.
Some years back I was on a training course in Switzerland. I was told that I looked like some European movie star. No idea who he was, and I didn’t ask as these colleagues kept taking photos of me without permission. So, I was pissed off and didn’t wish to engage with them. Cameras and I are not good friends…
Have you ever come across a connection to Hollywood (new or old) in any of your family history research? How so?
Unfortunately, no. On a slight tangent my Grandmother Sherry was convinced we were related to John Wayne. My Grandfather had cousins who emigrated to the USA, surname Morrison. But a different Morrison family!
Where can you find Stephen online, you ask? I’ll tell you!
If you are a member of the online old Hollywood and/or genealogy community and would like to be interviewed for this series, please reply in the comments or message me on Twitter @hollywoodgenes.